by Pam Zubeck
El Paso County election worker Emily Rome will serve as an official election observer for the May 8 Republic of Albania’s local election.
Rome is taking leave from the Clerk and Recorder's Office to volunteer with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which is chartered by the United Nations, the clerk's office said in a release.
“We are excited to have a member of our staff participating in this type of activity. I am delighted that Emily’s work with the OSCE will help with an emerging democracy’s electoral process. The knowledge, experience, and relationships she will gain from this trip will be invaluable to our office as we prepare for the 2012 Presidential Election,” said Wayne Williams, El Paso County Clerk & Recorder.
Emily will be in the Republic of Albania for 8 days to observe the country’s election process. She will travel to an assigned location within the country and serve as an Election Observer for voting centers within that area. Her responsibilities are simply to observe the processes at voting centers and report her observations back to the OSCE. Emily will be deployed to a location within the country as a member of a multinational team of two to monitor the opening of voting centers, voting, counting of ballots, and the tabulation of results. “I am proud that a member of my Election Department staff is willing to give her time to aid another country in their democratic process. I want to encourage other members of our staff to take advantage of opportunities like this. In this country, I think we often forget how important the power of the ballot box is and the struggles other countries confront in order to be able to participate in democracy,” stated Williams.
This is not Emily’s first trip to observe an election; in 2010 she journeyed to Ukraine to observe their presidential election. She was there for 11 days and then later returned to that country for a week to observe the run-off election. “I am delighted to have this type of opportunity to participate in what could be called the ground floor of democracy. I love working in the Election Department and having such an active role in our democratic process but, to travel to these foreign countries and see people’s struggles and challenges all to be able to cast a ballot in a newly free society is an unbelievable experience,” said Emily Rome.
“When I was in Ukraine I saw elderly women and men climb rickety and steep staircases, stand in line in subzero temperatures all to cast their ballot in an election. It makes me truly appreciate the democratic process in our country, but I think sometimes we forget how easy we have it here. I am excited about this adventure,” said Emily.
In an effort to highlight and provide information about Emily’s trip to the Republic of Albania, the Clerk & Recorder’s Office has set up a blog on the website http://car.elpasoco.com. Emily will be blogging with information and insights about her trip. “We hope the public and media will benefit from her travels and experiences and wanted to provide an avenue for that to occur,” said Williams.